DON'T FORGET RUTH RENDELL week in a month.
THE REVENANT review
(From the archives)
GHOST TOWN, Ed Gorman (from the archives)
It's been of some embarrassment to me
that despite the many readers and writers of Westerns who contribute to
Friday's Forgotten Books, I have not read one. Okay, I did read Lonesome Dove, but that's about the only one.
always suffered from the mistaken impression that Western novels
resemble the TV westerns of my youth. The plots were about cattle
rustling, bar fights, women depicted as all good (schoolmarms and wives)
or all bad (saloon girls and hookers), shootouts, Indian fights, cattle
herding, lynchings, etc. Everything seemed painted in black and white
to match the day.
Ed Gorman took pity on my misconceptions and
sent me two of his Westerns, saying he thought I'd be surprised at the
modern Western and how it bore more a resemblance to noirish crime fiction than I might think.
read GHOST TOWN and it was surprisingly like current crime fiction, but
more than that, it was a terrific novel, regardless of its
genre-leanings. GHOST TOWN was a great story, well-told, with
interesting characters in an unfamiliar (to me) setting.
The book takes
places in a small Wisconsin town overrun by both malaria and a few
suspicious types who run the bank and the town. It's the story of Bryce
Lamont, who comes here to get his share of the take from a jewelry theft
that put him in prison. What he finds in that Wisconsin town will lead
him down a bloody trail, jeopardizing himself and the people he loves.
I don't want to give away too much of the plot here, but let me say this--nearly every character in Ghost Town
is complex--neither all good or bad, and this includes, of course, the
protagonist. Although there is a lot of action in the novel, it never
feels overdone. There is plenty of time to look around at the scenery,
the clothes, medical practices, woman's issues, the news of the late
1800s in a small mid-western town. Despite this, the book is succinct,
fast-moving and exciting.
Its greatest asset is-- this book has
heart. You can feel it beating on every page. And that's not easy to
pull off in any genre of writing. Grit and heart in one slim volume is a
I will certainly read more Westerns after this one. It hardly hurt at all. Thanks, Ed.
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Bill Crider, HAIL STORME, W.L, Ripley
Scott Cupp, BETWEEN THE LIVING AND THE DEAD, Bill Crider
Martin Edwards, LOBELIA GROVE, Anthony Rolls
Rick Horton, THE GINGER STAR, Leigh Brackett
Jerry House, CAPTIVE, the Gordons
Nick Jones, Desmond Quarry's Mr. Pilgrim
George Kelley, THE ESSENTIAL ELLISON: A 35 YEAR RETROSPECTIVE
Margot Kinberg, MAXIMUM BOB, Elmore Leonard
Rob Kitchin, SLOW HORSES, Mick Herron
B.V. Lawson, HARBINGERS OF FEAR, Dorothy Sumpson
Evan Lewis, CONAN, THE DEFENDER, Robert Jordan
Steve Lewis/Walter Albert, JO GAR'S CASEBOOK, Raoul Whitfield
Todd Mason, THE
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J.F. Norris, SO BAD A DEATH, June Wright
Matt Paust, THE COLD WAR SWAP, Ross Thomas
J. Kingston Pierce, BLACK WINGS HAS MY ANGEL, Elliot Chaze
James Reasoner, HELL ROARIN TEXAS TOWN, Robert Denver
Kevin Tipple/Barry Ergang, KILLERS ARE MY MEAT, Stephen Marlowe
TomCat,LATE,LATE IN THE EVENING, Gladys Mitchell
TracyK, TRUST ME ON THIS, Donald E. Westlake
Prashant Trikannad, THE CASE OF THE INVISIBLE CIRCLE, Erle Stanley Gardner